Originally commissioned in 2009, the PlanetSolar Tûranor was designed to see how successful a boat powered entirely by solar power would perform.
After a successful circumnavigation of the globe in 2012, the PlanetSolar Tûranor spent a few months in port getting retrofitted with more efficient motors and solar power control systems. After the circumnavigation in 2012, during which Tûranor set an Atlantic-crossing record of 26 days, the question was what it was going to do next.
Researchers found the platform to be ideal for studying air and water quality because, as the Tûranor runs entirely on solar power, there are zero emissions where studies would be taking place. The PlanetSolar DeepWater project was set to begin its new mission studying ocean currents and air/water quality studies, starting in Europe and crossing the Atlantic Ocean, with publicity stops along the way.
Making a new record wasn’t part of the plan, but set a new record the Tûranor solar boat did, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in just over 22½ days. “It is difficult to compare the two crossings because they were conducted at very different times of the year,” said Tûranor’s captain, Gérard d’Aboville. “But it is certain that in light of the lessons learned during the trip around the world, the major maintenance projects carried out last winter — particularly to the propulsion system — have greatly improved the ship’s performance.